Every Vote Counts

Last week I attended a job fair where I manned a voter registration table. This was my third time doing so and as they say, “the third time is the charm.” I registered more at this particular event than the others.

My first experience was at a local ice cream parlor where I registered a whopping two new voters. I felt bad for the new voters, because after sitting at our table for nearly six hours, we were so excited that we cheered. The young men probably wanted to slink away. One did not even venture inside for a dish of ice cream.

The second endeavor into adding new people to the voter rolls occurred in a barber shop. As the mother of three girls, I enjoyed watching fathers bringing in their boys as well as observing the interactions of the customers with each other and the people cutting their hair. I felt like an invader in a special club. We registered four men. A few candidates apparently got wind of what was happening and strolled in and had an informal Q&A session with the guys. Not surprisingly, it got a little heated at one time.

During the job fair, I was seated with three other women—one originally from Florida, another from Utah, and the third  began life in the cold northern state of Minnesota. It was fascinating learning what brought us all to South Carolina and how we all ended up registering voters that day.

A job fair attracts men and women from all walks of life. We were trained to show the homeless how to vote as well as to inform those who served jail time that they were eligible to vote as long as they were not on probation. This is not true in all states where, once convicted, their voting rights are never restored. I recently learned from my own research that there are two states—Maine and Vermont—where even inmates are permitted to vote!

I must say that almost everyone was extremely nice to us—thanking us even if they were already eligible. The only sad encounter was with a woman who had not already registered and told us she did not want to because “my vote does not count.” Even when we pointed to the Virginia election which was decided by a coin toss, she still would not sit down and register. Oh well, that was her prerogative too.